Participants in North-west Youth Climate Incubation Hub Call for Afforestation, Habitat Restoration

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Bennett Oghifo

Participants at a recent forum, Youth Climate Incubation Hub, organised by the Federal Ministry of Environment and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), have called for afforestation and habitat restoration, among others, as solution to challenges caused by climate change in the North-west of the country.

The youths at the two-day climate change incubation hub, which took place at the Horizon Hotel, Kano, recently, were from seven states in North-West of Nigeria: Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Kebbi, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara.

According to the organisers, the youth event was to further strengthen Nigeria’s position as a member country of the UN’s Youth Engagement and Public Mobilisation track at the Climate Action Summit holding this month, UNDP and the Federal Ministry of Environment hosted a Regional Youth Roundtable on Climate Action to unlock innovativeness in Nigeria’s Climate Change Action.

The North-west youth participants deliberated on climate change innovations, and came up with five innovative ideas: Eco-Literacy Education; Waste management and Recycling methods; Deployment of Smart Science and Technologies; Smart Agriculture and Bioinformatics; Afforestation and Habitat Restoration; and Gender and Sustainable Livelihood.

The aim of the summit, which was one of six that took place in the nation’s geopolitical zones, was to consider ideas that would be presented at the climate change national summit in Abuja, this month.

The North-west climate change hub identified 70 youths with ideas that could be incubated, with 10 youth representing each state from the North-West.

They recommended that the youth platform should be sustained so as to give voice and opportunity to network among youths; institutionalisation of the state and regional climate change hub as a growing structure; Further engagement of the youths that have converged at the regions as they have brilliant ideas that can be supported; Stakeholders must act to strengthen and empower smallholder farmers on land rights; Government to create funding scheme for youths’ innovations from the summits; Integrate diverse kinds of knowledge and explicitly engages the social, ecological, physical, health, and engineering sciences; and Strengthen existing activities in mitigating climate change.

The participants observed the need for discussion and action on climate change; they believe the youth should work in collaboration with the government to have achieveable solutions to climate issues in the North West; that Nigeria needs to intensify climate action to attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 and mitigate Climate change; Effective implementation of Climate Change Conventions should remain a focus in Nigeria; Technology plays an important role in Climate Change Action and should be pursued; Monitoring, Reporting and Evaluation are an important aspect of climate change action.

The North-West Hub was facilitated by TalentPlus Resources International (TRI). The Executive Director, Aderonke K-Eseka explained that the incubation hub was coming at the appropriate time and that this would afford youths selected from the states in the North West region to share their most brilliant ideas that will bring about mitigating climate issues in the region.

The Permanent Secretary for Environment, Kano State, Mallam Tukut Makama Getso, said he was glad to see such initiative bringing youths in the region together for the first time to engage and find solutions to a common challenge of the North-West region. He opened the Summit and eulogised the youth for participating in increasing debate on climate change and emphasised Kano State was open to partner with stakeholders with brilliant ideas on climate change.

He enjoined to participate actively with a view to highlighting key areas that will address climate change challenges in Nigeria.

Sa’adatu Gambo Maliki, Senior Scientific Officer of the Department of Climate Change, Ministry of Environment made her presentation on climate change and in conclusion enjoined the youths to come up with ideas that are innovative, bankable and implementable to solving the North West climate challenges.

During a joint closing ceremony via zoom with the North-West Zone and the North East zones, Dr. Peter Tarfa, Director of Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Environment, thank all participants and who was highly impressed by the large turnout of youths who are ready to solve the challenges of climate in the North West region. He assured participants that the ideas harvested would be implemented.

Mr. Muyiwa Odele of the UNDP also appreciate participants and mentioned to the youths that they remain committed to adopting the brilliant climate change ideas from the youths; adding that this is not a one off summit there are plans for continuous engagement of participants in implementing their ideas.

Participants after the closing ceremony resolved to continued actions on climate change while networking with each other intra and inter states. They indicated their intention to continue to implement their ideas as they look forward to possible partnership opportunities with other stakeholders.